Q: How long can you drive on a leak in the head gasket at cylinder 2 and 3? on 2003 BMW X5

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The dealership told me that it would cost $4242 to reseal with a head test. But if the cylinder head have to be replaced it will cost 6811. If they can torque it back on if not then I will need a new engine. What do you think? The truck has 148,000 miles on it
(2) Answers
(1) Comments
ask any independent BMW specialty shop and if he's worth a penny, he will tell you to go ahead and put in a used
engine. an engine is less labor than a head gasket. if you go the head gasket route there is no guarantee that the block is okay----so, you've spent all that money and then you have to buy the engine ANYWAY. of course, there is the other question: what caused it to overheat in the
first place? radiator? water pump? all that must be fixed
as well no matter which route you take. (note: this not
unusual for a BMW; they cannot be overheated and survive)
I can't answer to your your question about how long you can drive it, I don't think any one can. However, 95% of the time the head can be reused on this car if you stop driving it to prevent overheating.
Before they remove the head they need to check if it could be re-torqued by loosening up and re-torque every head bolt -one at a time. If the car was overheated there is a big possibility - due to heat expansion - the cyl. head bolts pulled the thread out from the engine block, that's why the dealer priced you the complete engine.
The engine block can be saved by a special thread repair kit, called time-cert. There is a kit available for BMW with the complete guide jig, however you still need to take the engine block to a machine shop to get them installed, don't attempt to do it yourself, unless you are a trained professional. This is not a cheap Helicoil kit, this is the real deal, it will fix the thread permanently.
I'd also suggest to find a good independent BMW repair shop in your area. They will have a better price and get more value for your buck. You can use the RepairPal's shop locator, or if you post your location and ZIP I can check my own network of BMW and Euro specialty shops.
There are other things that I'd suggest to do during the cylinder head job, but let's find a shop first.

Thanks so much! I reside in 60425 zip code. I'm just fed up with this car. I have invested so much money for repairs It overheated awhile ago (3+ yrs) and I have had the coolant case replaced, water pump, O2 sensors, mass air flow, transformer case, temperature gauge, amongst other things that I can't think of right now. I just don't know what to do! I still owe like $8000. on it :(